Cathedral thief jailed for 20 months
A HEROIN addict who hid in Winchester Cathedral, stole donation envelopes, and then smashed stained-glass windows and broke his ankles while trying to escape has been jailed for 20 months. The addict, Paul Wild, 34, of Hyde Street, Winchester, managed to steal only £10 from the donation box, but caused almost £40,000 of damage when he climbed over tombs and mortuary boxes before kicking out a stained-glass window. His seven-metre fall broke both his ankles, which, his defence lawyer suggested, was a “biblical punishment” in itself.
Updated security advice published
NICK TOLSON, director of Churchwatch Research, which offers security advice to churches, has published new guidance since the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel (News, 26 July; Comment, 5 August). It recommends tightening security at the church entrance. “Always have someone on the door of your church welcoming people into the building during service who can close the front door in an emergency. Make sure that someone is stood by the door before, during and after the service, whilst the congregation is present. Make sure that person knows what to do once they have closed the door,” it says. Guidance on anti-Christian hate crime can also be found at https://www.facebook.com/nationalchurchwatch
Traidcraft back in the black after four years
THE fairtrade company Traidcraft has posted its first annual profit for five years. A big marketing push last year seems to have paid off for the Gateshead-based organisation, which saw sales increase by ten per cent in the build-up to Christmas. Traidcraft, which has been a pioneer in the fairtrade movement since it was founded in 1979, said that in the year 2015-16 almost 560,000 people in the developing world benefited from its work.
Former press officer’s trial opens
THE trial of a former spokesman for the diocese of Truro, Jeremy Dowling, on charges of indecent assault and gross indecency with a child, has begun at Truro Crown Court. The attacks are alleged to have taken place when he was a lay preacher at churches in the Bude area in the 1970s, before he worked for the diocese. The prosecution told the court this week that a ten-year-old boy whom Mr Dowling met through church activities was assaulted during a visit to a Cornish church. Mr Dowling denies the charges. He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence after he admitted sexually abusing five boys while working as a teacher earlier in his career (News, 17 July 2015).